‘Gomorrah’ On Sundance: Our Exclusive Interview With Star Salvatore Esposito

From the minute the premiere of Gomorrah on Sundance hit the airwaves, it’s been one of the most talked about shows on television. The show, based on the true story written by Roberto Saviano, focuses on La Camorra, the Neapolitan crime syndicate. And while Gomorrah on Sundance certainly has its fair share of detractors — many Italians fear that this show will only further the misconception with Americans viewing Italians solely as gangsters — it also has its fair share of critical acclaim, and for just cause.

While Gomorrah on Sundance is certainly gritty, frightening, and at times extremely violent, it doesn’t glamorize the violence in the same way that The Sopranos has done in the past. Rather, Gomorrah on Sundance gives a very realistic depiction of the conditions that cause young Neapolitan men to join La Camorra: the abject poverty in certain parts of Naples, the inability to provide for their families, and the promise of easy money all make life in La Camorra very appealing — until the prospect realizes the price they have to pay.

No matter the controversy, though, Gomorrah on Sundance has its devoted fans, and as American audiences gear up for tonight’s season finale (in Italy, Season 2 has already aired, and they’re patiently awaiting Season 3), this writer sat down with Gomorrah on Sundance star Salvatore Esposito, who plays Gennaro “Genny” Savastano on the show. He answered some burning questions and offered up a few hints about what American fans of Gomorrah on Sundance can expect for Season 2.

Gomorrah Sundance
Salvatore Esposito plays Genny Savastano on the hit show, "Gomorrah," on Sundance. [Image by Emanuela Scarpa/Sundance TV]

On the evolution of his character, Genny, on Gomorrah on Sundance:
The actor’s craft allows you to create characters that are either good or bad. I tried to create two “Gennys” during the first season, because the way the two perceived the world was different, especially after Genny returns from Honduras. The effort is only in the period in which you have to prepare to play these characters; when you start shooting, it’s a bit easier. But in the second season, you will see ‘a “Genny 3.0”!!! Genny’s now a bit more thoughtful, he has learned from his mistakes and therefore won’t repeat them. As in Darwin’s theory, Genny has been shown to be able to adapt to all situations… and even in the most difficult ones, he’s emerged stronger.

Gomorrah Sundance
Salvatore Esposito says we will see a "Genny 3.0" on the next season of "Gomorrah" on Sundance. [Image by Emanuela Scarpa/Sundance TV]

On how the role of Genny changed his life
Genny has changed my life so much. Thanks to the role, my book which will tell you my story will come out. I hope that it can be an example for many young people who, in spite of the difficulties, struggle to achieve their dreams. My life totally changed, but I fight every day to keep my feet on the ground and concentrate on my work. For this, I am thankful to my family and to Paula, my love.

On his response to the critics of Gomorrah on Sundance, who say that the show glorifies the gangster lifestyle
I am a big fan of American films, but I do not think that Americans are all murderers, corrupt politicians, or corrupt cops. Gomorrah on Sundance tells the story of a criminal system spread throughout the world. The series first started out in Italy three years ago, and since then, Naples had a record-breaking number of tourists, especially last summer. This means two things: intelligent people can distinguish fiction from reality, and despite it all, Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I invite people who have never been to come visit…you will fall in love & stay in love.

The season finale of Gomorrah on Sundance airs tonight at 10 p.m.

[Featured Image by Salvatore Esposito]